Today is the Anniversary of 2 Devastating Lower East Side Fires

Posted on: May 14th, 2019 at 5:00 am by

Fires on May 14

Today, May 14, is a day that lives in infamy on the Lower East Side. Two fires, separated by eight years, devastated the properties, displaced tenants, and ultimately led to new development.

Hong Kong Supermarket Fire (2009)

May 2009

It was exactly ten years ago.

May 14 was a Thursday that year. That night, with the smell of smoke flooding our apartment, we headed downstairs to behold the fire burning through the Hong Kong Supermarket on East Broadway (at Pike Street). Firefighters battled through the night to extinguish the flames, but not enough to save numbers 105 and 107.

Four years after the wreckage cleared, new development spawned, housing a Marriott Fairfield Inn with a Chinese supermarket on the ground level. A six-story building later rose atop 107 East Broadway in 2016.

Beth Hamedrash Hagadol Fire (2017)

In 2017, May 14 was a Sunday. Mother’s Day, in fact. Late that afternoon, the nearly two-century-old structure housing Beth Hamedrash Hagadol caught fire. The house of worship – erected in 1850 as a Baptist church and purchased by the Russian Orthodox congregation in 1885 – was burned beyond repair.

What remains now is a nub of its former self, elements to be incorporated into a new development.

As previously reported, the new development at 60 Norfolk spans the block of Broome Street, and is composed of two towers. The first is a 16-story mid-rise (up from ten in the original plan) with 115 affordable apartments for seniors and a 4,000 square-foot commercial condo for Beth Hamedrash Hagadol, both as sanctuary and a Jewish cultural heritage center that can be converted to office space in future.

Photo: Gotham Organization

Recent Stories

Whole Foods Hogs Sidewalk with Amazon Prime Now Delivery Bike Fleet

The Whole Foods on the Bowery thinks it owns the sidewalk. Just look to the entrance, where a gaggle of delivery bikes, with long flatbeds hitched, are parked awaiting parcels. It even wraps around onto the Bowery. This is the fleet of vehicles whose sole purpose is fulfilling Amazon’s Prime Now delivery service. The sidewalk […]

Someone is Growing Corn Stalks on Delancey Street

Talk about farm to table… A guerrilla farmer is growing corn on Delancey Street, but you wouldn’t necessarily notice on first passing. The decrepit flower box outside the Allen Mall Bathhouse on Delancey Street is chock full of plantings. And the growing glut of crap behind it keeps you away. Gaze there, though, and you’ll […]

Rivington House Sells to Mystery Buyer for $160M

The saga of Rivington House continues this week with news of its sale. Indeed, three years after Slate Property Group, China Vanke Co., and Adam America Real Estate together purchased the property, the ownership team is cashing out. Price paid for the real estate was $116 million; sale price is $159.6 million. For the moment, […]

Report: Tenant Files Lawsuit Over Alleged Roach Infestation at 261 Broome Street

A new tenant at 261 Broome Street filed a lawsuit against the landlord, claiming that an alleged roach infestation forced her to leave after only four days on-premise back in June. The complaint, filed this week in Manhattan Supreme Court by Julia Perry, alleges that the infestation was so severe that the critters even found […]

‘Douzo’ Sushi Opens on Delancey Street

Two years after the closure of Berkli Parc, the southwest corner of Allen and Delancey Streets is finally active again. The plywood shed was recently removed to reveal terra-cotta marquee and identity of the next tenant – Douzo. For the new venture, Sushisamba veteran Koji Kagawa teamed up with Chatchai Huadwattana of the Chace Restaurant […]